July 11, 2012

The Naked Truth About Sailing

An army of top photographers participated in the Body Issue project. We have to assume Steven Lippman’s task – capturing Tunnicliffe’s winning form in rough waters – was one of the most challenging assignments.

© 2012 ESPN Steven Lippman

For generations sailing industry promoters have been trying to figure out how to interest the general public in our sport. Today’s edition of ESPN magazine may help. In this annual Body Issue, top athletes from a diversity of sports are artfully pictured in the buff — including Olympic sailor Anna Tunnicliffe.

"It’s okay to stare," says ESPN’s website. "That’s what The Body Issue is here for. Each year, we stop to admire the vast potential of the human form. To unapologetically stand in awe of the athletes who’ve pushed their physiques to profound frontiers. To imagine how it would feel to inhabit those bodies, to leap and punch and throw like a god. To… well, gawk. So go ahead; join us." 

In an ESPN interview with Morty Ain, the 5’6", 146-lb gold-medalist, who is now 29, explains why she agreed to pose: "I want the world to see sailing as an athletic sport. A lot of people think it’s a nice cruise around the bay, cocktail in hand, gentle wind, sunny conditions. But racing is physical and aggressive. And we go out rain or shine."

She shares insights into her success: "The trick to sailing is figuring out how to relax as many muscles as you can, any that don’t absolutely need to be used at that moment, to conserve energy. You’re working hard, and your heart rate is up, but you have to think clearly so you can see what the waves are doing, read the winds and position yourself against your opponent. You try to give your body breaks. You relax your throat so you can breathe more normally, or you put the line in the other hand so your forearm can relax. Sometimes you rotate your legs, but generally you need both legs to make the boat work. But when I say relax, I mean five seconds max."

We salute Tunnicliffe’s spirit and her courage to bare it all for the glory of her sport. The special edition goes on sale today, so check it out — if you can find one. With the finely chiseled bodies of Slovakian tennis star Daniela Hantuchova, New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski, New York Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler, the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team and others, it’s sure to be a sellout.

A Racing Hodgepodge

The Vic-Maui race had a scenic start.

© Andrew Madding / Bow Shot Productions

As the Vic-Maui Race fleet are passing San Francisco Bay’s latitude (at 128 to 132 degrees longitude), they’re beginning to swoop south-southwest. Last night, Guy Walters reported, "The winds are stronger nearer to the coast and boats are not so much heading south to catch the trades sooner, but rather, hugging the beach to stay in the wind… I’m sure we will see some more shifts in the next three or four days as boats decide when to turn west." Due to the estimated finish times on the leaderboard, the race committee is concerned that seven of the 13 boats are projected to finish after the deadline of 23:55 HST on July 26.

The Everett, WA, based Beneteau First 45f5 Family Affair took a jibe to the southeast earlier today. "No, we weren’t in any trouble," wrote Paul Michael. "We were just avoiding a large stationary high pressure system to the southwest of us… All the favorable northwest wind is stacked up along the coast. The favorable heading with our northwest wind is to the southwest which works us into the lighter winds. The solution is a costly jibe to the southeast. It’s a gamble to see if the risk is worth the reward." A 40-mile jibe this morning seems to have paid off a bit for them. "We’ll work out of the ridge of high pressure near 38 degrees north and will have more room to work to the west," said Michael. "You’ll see the race fleet begin to spread out starting there."

Like the Singlehanded TransPac, the Vic-Maui is using Yellowbrick trackers, which make the race fun to follow online. See www.vicmaui.org.

Hanne Weaver (left) and Dana Rohde are in first and third place, respectively, after two and a half days of racing in the US Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship.

© 2012 Bart Zienda

Forty-eight young ladies are sailing in the US Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, hosted by Chicago YC in Laser Radials. Eight races were completed on Monday and Tuesday, with two today, the final day of competition on Lake Michigan. Hanne Weaver, of Gig Harbor, WA, took advantage of Tuesday’s strong winds as she surged to the front of the pack. Weaver was one of two sailors in the entire fleet who collected four top five scores, including a win in the opening race of the day. She heads into the final race with a nine point lead. The Seattle YC sailor finished 14th at the U.S. Laser Radial National Championships in May, and won a US Junior Olympic Sailing event in Seattle last August.

After nine races, with just one left to go, San Francisco’s Lola Bushnell is in second place.

© 2012 Bart Zienda

Several girls from the San Francisco Bay Area are sailing too. Lola Bushnell and Lindsey Baab, members of SFYC and StFYC, are in second and fourth place respectively. The event’s web pages are here.

A crowded start line.

© 2012 Bart Zienda

Robert McCreary will speak about the History & Evolution of the America’s Cup at Corinthian YC in Tiburon tonight. The event is free, but the club would like you to RSVP. See cyc.org/speakers.

San Francisco Bay racing this weekend includes the BAYS #3 Youth Regatta Saturday and Sunday on the North Circle, hosted by San Francisco YC, plus OYRA‘s Junior Waterhouse, Sausalito YC‘s Twin Island Race, and Bay View Boat Club’s Plastic Classic on Saturday. Lake races include the Trans-Tahoe, hosted by Tahoe YC, and Fresno YC’s High Sierra Regatta on Huntington Lake. Keelboats and Thistles race this weekend; results are up for last weekend’s centerboard divisions. See www.fresnoyachtclub.org.

The Cal 25 fleet will race for their National Championship in Long Beach Harbor starting on Friday. See www.lbyc.org

The Pacific Cup starts begin on Monday, July 16, and continue through Thursday the 19th. For many more events this month on and off the water, see our Calendar.

Dee Smith, formerly of Novato and now residing in Annapolis, is ramping up his fund-raising efforts for the Leukemia Cup. "You all know I have been working every year with the Leukemia Cup and have done okay with fund-raising. Seahorse magazine nicely enough put me up for sailor of the month mainly for this work. Please take a bit of time to put your vote in as it helps me to raise more money for cancer research. The link is www.seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month. I feel a bit weird asking for votes, but I think this is a good cause."

Sea Visas Explained as Fleet Grows

Within the southbound cruising community there’s been a lot of chatter lately about a new Mexican regulation which supposedly requires that "sea visas" be obtained in advance by all vessels heading south. Turns out, though, this has nothing to do with recreational sailors, such as those participating in the annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers rally, from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.

What a contrast from the congestion Southern Cal! A couple of day’s sail south with the Ha-Ha rally and you’ll find yourself in a whole new world.

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

According to Bob Hoyt, a longtime friend of the Ha-Ha who operates the Mag Bay outfitters fishing operation, this new visa requirement only applies to long-range commercial fishing vessels that will be operating within Mexico’s "economic zone" (which extends 24 miles offshore), and will not be clearing in at Ensenada. In recent years, there was an effort to force such vessels to clear at the port of Ensenada, but obtaining a Sea Visa in advance eliminates that necessity. Again, it does not pertain to sailors heading south.

Meanwhile, Hoyt has proposed an optional service that will make clearing in easier than ever for fleet members this year. Either he or his wife Diane will be on site during the Ha-Ha’s pre-departure activities to pre-clear any boats that want to save themselves the time and hassle in Cabo (the fleet’s traditional first port of entry). The same clearance fees that would be incurred in Cabo will apply, plus a $50 per boat service fee, similar to what Cabo ship’s agents charge.

From the very beginning, the Ha-Ha has always encouraged families with kids – it’s full of G-rated fun from start to finish.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As was the case last year, immigration officials from the port of San Carlos will attend our annual Bahia Santa Maria beach party to finalize the clearances, and to meet and greet the cruisers. "They actually love meeting all the sailors," says Hoyt.

Meanwhile, the Ha-Ha fleet continues to grow. If we’re on the fence about joining the fun this year, we’ll remind you that once the economy finally recovers it may actually be harder to break away. As one sailor put it last year, "Hey, my cash flow stinks, but my boat’s paid for and I can live a whole lot cheaper in Mexico, so doing the Ha-Ha was a no-brainer." For a complete schedule of Ha-Ha events see the website. Online sign-up there only takes about 10 minutes. Will this be your year to Ha-Ha?

All kinds of boats make the trek south. Both gold-platers and bargain boats will get you to the same sensational anchorages.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Baja Ha-Ha 19 Entries to Date:

Exodus / Lagoon 400 / San Diego / John Lightfoot & Sherry Franklin
Tamara Lee Ann / Celestial 48 / Emeryville / Doug & Tamara Thorne
Elysium / Catalina 42 MkII / Anacortes, WA / Dan Ohlemacher
Day Dream / J/122 / San Francisco / Robert Day
Mandolina / Oceanic 45 / San Francisco / Rich Reiner
Milagro / Catalina 42 / Alameda / Michael & Judy Stouffer
Vakasa / Lagoon TPI 42 / Victoria, BC / Tony & Kathy Silver
Dolfin / Pacific Seacraft 37 / San Diego / Bill & Patty Meanley
Talos IV / Pacific Seacraft 37 / Seattle, WA / Paul & Janet Baker
Heavy Metal / Blue Water 60 / San Francisco / Rigo & Deborah Fuzetto
Elegant’sea / Islander Freeport 36 / San Diego / Chip & Debbie Willis
Grey Goose / Hunter 36 / Marina Bay / Alan & Linda Brabon
Ojo Rojo / Columbia 36 / Alamitos Bay / Keith & Terry Albrecht
Flibbertigibbet / O’Day 34 / Discovery Bay / Betty & Jim Adams
Defiant / C&C 115 / Vancouver, BC / Mike Northup & Nancy Kettles
Rubber Duckies / Coronado 45 / Alameda / Nicki & Darrell Powell-Ford
Shindig / Oyster 485 / Sausalito / Robert & Nancy Novak
Zoë / Fantasi 44 / Bainbridge Is, WA / David & Barbara Rogers
HighRoad / Hans Christian 38 / Astoria, OR / Robert & Nancy Atwood
Lanikai / Hunter 38 / Long Beach / Allan & Leanne Emas
Serenity Now / Catalina MkII 36 / Dana Point / Dennis & Sue Nespor
Oogachaka / Krogen Widebody 42 / Coeur d’Alene, ID / Ken & Patty Sebby
Scot Free IV / Hylas 42 / Vancouver, BC / John Harper & Deborah Martin del Campo
Raireva / Cape Vickers 34 / Green Cove Springs / Marek Nowicki & Helen Chien
Odyssey / Islander Freeport 41 / Rio Vista / Kenneth & Danita Nissen
Gypsy Wind / Hunter 40.5 / Marina del Rey / James & Elizabeth Lee
La Boheme / Hylas 44 / Alameda / Marian Croyle & Neil Calvert
Wanuskewin / Catalina 42 MkII / San Diego / Michael & Holly Sanderson
Krissy 2 / Passport 40 / San Francisco / Allen Cooper
Patanjali / Catalina 42 / Marina del Rey / Michael Bowe
Taj / Grainger 48 cat / Port Townsend, WA / Peter Brown
Victoria / Hudson Force 50 / Catawba, WI / Alan Young
A Viva / Islander 36 / San Diego / David Meyers
Gitane / Island Packet 38 / Seattle, WA / Kenneth & Nancy Hunting
Kindred Spirit / Tayana V42 / Emeryville / Jim & Michele Saake
Haulback / Spencer 35 / Vancouver, BC / Jim & Janet Kellam
Valhalla / Ericson 34 / San Francisco / Don & Kathie Wight
Distraction / Olson 911s / San Diego / Don Laverty
Rancho Relaxo / Islander 30 / Chula Vista / Paul Ingram
Aventura / Morgan 382 / Seattle, WA / Greg Smith
Desert Vision / Hunter 44 DS / Portland, OR / Michael & Iris Boone
R & B III / Catalina 36 / Santa Cruz / Robert Older & Richard Weed
Coyote / Hylas 42 / San Francisco / Jack Salyer
Sea Gazer / Islander 36 / San Diego / Thomas Fernandez
Valkyrie / Morgan 28 / San Francisco / Patric Walton
Wizard / Choate 40 / San Francisco / John & Susan Campbell
Fluenta / Stevens 47 / Halifax, NS / Max Shaw & Elizabeth Brown-Shaw
Beleza / Hylas 46 / San Pedro / Michael & Qi Bruce
Sea Note / Endeavour 43 / Fort Mohave, AZ / Thomas Wood
Story Seeker / Beneteau M445 / Sausalito / Keith Patterson & Marianna deCroes
Bangorang / Fountaine-Pajot Venezia 42 / Ventura / Colin & Wendy Gegg
Gundamain / Oyster 655 / Larkspur / Paxy Ltd.
Iataia / Beneteau First 45 / San Diego / Sara & Marcos Rodriguez
Reflections / Rafiki 37 / Morro Bay / Jeff Wass
Little Wing / Islander 34 / Point Richmond / Keith Somers & Mary Perkins
Autumn Wind / Catalina 34 / Alameda / Brian Plautz & Elizabeth Kline
Unwinder / Catalina 36 / San Diego / Robert Watson
Compadre / Columbia 45 / Long Beach / Doug & Virginia Ward
Rhapsody / Herreshoff Nereia 36/ Los Angeles / Alan & Laura Dwan
Gabby Wray / Catalina 470 / San Diego / Darrell & Wendy Peck
Granuaile / Tayana 52 / Marina del Rey / Gregory Richter & Janet Gaynor
Pied-a-Mer III / Seawind 1160 cat / Clatskanie, OR / Eric & Pam Sellix
Lion Heart / Catalina 42 / Redondo Beach, CA / George & Veronica Lyons
Indiscretion / Hunter 35 / Victoria, BC / Albert Klettke
Pacific Hwy / Davidson 44 / St. John, USVI / Bruce & Laura Masterson
Jumble / Mariner 31 / San Diego / Andrew Martin & Anna Tang
Tinuviel / True North 34 / Benicia / Barry Foster & Kathy Kathy Crabtree
Eternal Bliss / Vagabond 47 / Channel Islands Harbor / Winthrop & Jennifer Artis
Destiny / 85-ft schooner / Friday Harbor, WA / Mike & Dawn Hillard

The Revenge of the Fish

When it comes to humans and fish, fish usually come out on the short end. For about a billion times more fish get killed or injured by humans than vice versa. But every now and then humans come out on the short end.

One such human is Stefan Ries, a young German cruiser who has been based out of Banderas Bay for the last several years. He’s currently on a sailing/surfing safari to Central America aboard his Triton Mintaka. While adjusting his windvane when sailing out of Bahia Santa Elena a week or so ago, he was harpooned by a two-foot needlefish. Harpooned in the sense that the head of the fish plowed into his left thigh. Part of the fish’s jaw came out the other side of his thigh, the other part of the jaw broke off inside his leg. He was able to remove most of it with a pair of pliers. More on this story in next month’s Changes in Latitudes.

Hogan Beatie’s nasty wound. Yowie, that had to hurt.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The last time we can remember something similar to this happening was about five years ago when a barracuda jumped out of the water near St. Martin in the Caribbean and bit a chunk out of Bay Area sailor Hogan Beattie’s stomach.

Truth at the start of the race just 8.5 days earlier. latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC In an age when sailing records are ‘smashed’ by just a few hours — if not minutes — beating a 16-year-old transPacific record by nearly two and a half days is mind-blowing.
Groupama’s French skipper Franck Cammas lifts the Volvo Ocean Race trophy, claiming first place overall, at the final public prize-giving in Galway, Ireland.
A newly arrived American couple were brutally attacked aboard their boat in the south anchorage near Isla Colon in Panama’s Bocas del Toro region early on Sunday morning, reports Don Winner in his Panama Guide.